by Kevin Mitchell
Senior Compliance/ Waste Management Specialist
Mrs. Gump said life is like a box of chocolates. I think life can also be described as a series of marathons – it is an exercise of discipline and endurance, with live music and cheering fans along the way. Sometimes you’re the runner and sometimes you’re the cheerleader at mile 21. To run a successful race, one needs to train. Training begins with building a base. The ever wise Mrs. Gump is correct that you never know what you’re going to get in life; however, if you have a solid foundation, or base, you are much more likely to achieve your goals and weather challenges with less injury.
**Caution: Forrest started running and did not stop for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days and 16 hours. Do not attempt that. Mrs. Gump was a sage when it came to preparing her son for the unknowns in life, but she apparently did not cover proper training techniques for long distance running.**
After a period of inconsistent exercise, I am back up to a 3-mile base. This allows me to fly into action at a moment’s notice and begin training for whatever is next – a moment’s notice is just the decision … then the work follows, which is done more efficiently and with less chance of injury once a base is established. As I was running the other day, I was reminded of two things. The first is a reminder simply worth mentioning, and the second was the inspiration for this blog (blame the endorphins): 1) it’s good to unplug and leave space for new thoughts and creativity (i.e., I ran without music and it was good to be alone with my breathing, blood pumping in my ears, and blog brainstorming); and 2) I have sole memory. No, not new shoes with high-tech squishy memory foam, but a memory and confidence of running a marathon and knowing that I could do it again. My feet and heart know the way. Amateurs (like me) typically progressively train to about 20 miles for their longest run before a marathon, so there is some mystery going into your first marathon as to whether you will ‘hit the wall’ (aka, run out of gas) (aka, bonk) (aka, not finish). The mystery is gone after the first one. We experience this concept throughout life in many ways as we reach/achieve/repeat.
Our sole memory tells us we can walk the challenging paths we’ve walked before, and our experience of reaching and achieving tells us we can reach again. Of course, along the way we sometimes bite into one of those pink or orange filled gooey chocolates Mrs. Gump prophesied – YUCK, adversity! Our sole memory says “no sweat, you’ve been here before – put the uneaten half back in the box and press on.” When adversity strikes, I believe there is something else that also serves us – our soul memory. Our soul memory serves as a foundation for our intentions and actions – a memory and experience of guiding principles that do not change through adversity. And these, too, are strengthened through use. It is important to build and maintain a base level of exercise just as it is important to establish a base level of conduct and execution in our work to achieve our goals, avoid injury and serve others. It is through a strong base that we are able to reach and achieve. Strata-G’s core values with which we guard our front door include integrity, service and quality. I am thankful Strata-G is intentional about practicing these core values, which serve to maintain our corporate base in all we do. What is your base and what will you reach for next?